Virtual Book Tour: Thorn by Intisar Khanani

This post is part of a tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Intisar will award an autographed bookmark at every stop, and a $15 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Earn extra entries by following her on Facebook.

Princess Alyrra’s strength lies in silence. Scorned by her family, she avoids the court, spending her time with servants. When her marriage is unexpectedly arranged with the prince of a powerful neighboring kingdom, Alyrra feels trapped. As the court celebrates her match, dark rumors spread about the unexplained deaths of the women of her new family. Alyrra begins her journey with mounting trepidation. Betrayed while traveling, she seizes an opportunity to start a life away from court.

Walking away from a prince whom she doesn’t know should have been easy. But from the moment she sets eyes on him, Alyrra realizes that her freedom could cost him his life. Without any magical defense of her own, she is plunged into a lethal game of sorcery and deceit. Now Alyrra must decide whom she can trust and what she’s willing to fight for—before her silence proves fatal.

Read an excerpt from the book:

“Well, Alyrra, you are off. Are you worried?” I incline my head in assent. “With good cause,” Mother agrees, her voice relaxed, sleepy. “I have devised some help for you against the sorceress, if she is truly a danger. It is a simple but potent spell.”

I nearly choke—magic? Since when has my mother dabbled in magic? And how abysmally little I know her if I do not know this! She unfolds a square of white silk no larger than a kerchief.

“What spell is that?”

She smiles a slow cat smile. “Watch.”

She picks up a needle that glints gold in the lamplight and pricks her finger. As the first drop wells up and falls to spread on the silk she begins to chant:

“Heart’s blood, ruby drop
Bind my love to you;
Mind’s blood, dark drop,
Bind my knowledge to you;
Soul’s blood, last drop,
Bind all strength to you.”

A wave of dizziness passes over me. I stagger sideways, bumping into the edge of the desk. When I raise a hand to my face it comes away damp with sweat.

“What have you done?”

About the Author:Over the years, I’ve considered different occupations based on how my name, Intisar, has been mispronounced. There’s “Intistar” (Galactic Space Commander?), “Interstar” (Lowly Space Shuttle Captain?), and “Inastar” (Nuclear Fusion, here I come!), just to list a few. So how is my name really pronounced?

Pretty much how it’s written: In-ti-sar Kha-na-ni.

I was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and have grown up a nomad, with multiple stints living in Saudi Arabia, boarding school in New Hampshire, and college split between Minnesota and Colorado. My family is from Pakistan, and I still have extended family there. My husband, young daughter and I live in Cincinnati, Ohio where I work with the Cincinnati Health Department on projects to improve community health, which is as close as I can get to saving the world. We’ve lived in Cincinnati longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere in one go—over five years.

Writing fantasy has been a lifelong passion. I wrote my first novel, Thorn, during my senior year in college. I had always wanted to write a novel, so I challenged myself to write a chapter a week. I decided to use one of my favorite Grimm’s fairy tales, “The Goose Girl,” as the basic storyline and optimistically set to work writing. How hard could it be if I already had the plot? I remember sitting down to read my completed first draft and nearly falling asleep. Suitably chastened but undaunted, I spent the next ten years on revisions and rewrites. I worked through about 13 drafts before deciding to publish.

My website:


Thank you for hosting Intisar today.
Anonymous said…
Considering all the new movies that feature fairytales, your book fits right in! Personally I like reading fairytales with a new twist.

While I don't get asked to spell my name, I was born in Tadschikistan and always get asked where that is. :)

Ingeborg said…
Sounds very interesting
Intisar Khanani said…
Hi Judy,

Thanks so much for featuring Thorn on your blog! Thorn is now available for sale on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions:

For a limited time, the Kindle edition will be only 99 cents!

Thanks again for having me here. Best,
Intisar Khanani said…
Hi Anas -

I feel your pain! My father has actually traveled across Central Asia, and I have always wanted to visit your part of the world. The pictures I've seen are beautiful, and I've heard so much about how friendly people are. :)

I hope you get a chance to look up Thorn; I think you'll enjoy it!

Lyra L7 said…
Oh cool, I'll have to get a copy, great offer and it sounds promising!

Anonymous said…
I have a last name that people struggle to spell, too. "It's spelled like it sounds" never helps, for some reason...

marybelle said…
Those are certainly interesting occupations. I had to laugh. I'm glad writer was your choice in the end.

I love the stories of the Brothers Grimm.

FB: Mary Preston

Intisar Khanani said…
Hi Mary,

I love fairy tales too (clearly). Although I'm working on some original stories, I keep thinking that I'll come back to another fairy tale retelling. There's so much packed into fairy tales. I also love fairy / folk tales from the far east.

I'd love to hear if anyone has favorite fairy tale collections they'd like to share.

Rebecca Hipworth said…
I look forward to reading this. :)